Root Canal Therapy
Your tooth is a living organ, and like all living organs, it can become endangered and even die. It is comprised of three layers, but the deep inner layer (known as the pulp) is the part of the tooth that is made of nerves and blood vessels and serves to keep the tooth alive. A tooth can die due to a variety of reasons such as severe infection, trauma, and tooth decay. When your tooth dies, your risk of losing that tooth is greatly increased. To prevent a tooth from being lost after it dies, we here at Raptou Family Dental often choose to perform a procedure known as root canal therapy, which can give an at-risk tooth a second chance of remaining inside your mouth.
What Happens During Root Canal Therapy?
No words are quite as terrifying to some of our patients than, “You need a root canal.” There is so much misinformation about this procedure which feeds into that fear, but the fact is, root canals are a safe and routine procedure. We perform them regularly here at our office, helping prevent teeth from requiring extraction.
Your teeth are made of three layers. The outer layer is known as the enamel and is the hardest material in your body. This helps protect the two inner layers of the tooth. When it becomes compromised, the inner portions of your teeth can become infected or vulnerable to decay. The second layer of your tooth is the dentin, and finally, the deepest inner layer is the pulp. It is when the pulp dies that we do need to perform a root canal on our patients.
Before we start a root canal, we will first begin with a series of X-rays. This will let us know the severity of the infection and how to proceed. We will then apply a local anesthetic to the site to help you from experiencing any discomfort during the procedure. For more nervous patients, you may be a good candidate for nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) to help you feel less anxious during the procedure.
We will then place a dental dam over the tooth to protect it and keep it clean during the procedure. Next, we will carefully drill into your tooth to give us access to the innermost portion of the tooth. At this point, we will remove any remaining traces of infection or decay. We will gently file and shape the inside of your tooth to prepare it for filling.
If there is any remaining infection, we may clean the site with an antibacterial wash. We will then pack the opening with a material called gutta percha, then place a temporary crown over it until your permanent crown comes back from our laboratory. Once the crown arrives, which can take up to two weeks, we will make sure it is a good fit before securing it tightly with dental cement and curing it with a special type of ultraviolet light.
A root canal is an endodontic procedure. Endodontics can be translated as “inside the tooth.” The root canal is a procedure that falls under this category. This procedure is usually needed when the tooth is damaged from the inside. This damage includes:
You must be aware of the different parts of the tooth to understand the basics of a root canal and how it is done. These include the enamel (the white layer outside), the dentin (a supportive layer underneath the enamel), the cementum (a coating on top of the root), and the dental pulp (soft tissue in the base of the tooth).
The dental pulp is the main area where the procedure is performed.
How is a Root Canal Done?
A root canal is required when bacteria damage the dental pulp. This sets the tone for the entire procedure. You will be given a local anesthetic right before the procedure begins, after which the canal will be cleaned.
Will I Need a Dental Crown with a Root Canal?
The procedure will end with a crown or a filling to seal the tooth. This protects the tooth from getting infected and gives it structure to heal. The entire root canal procedure feels like a filling, so it should not be painful.
How To Know If You Need a Root Canal
It is important to note the warning signs of a root canal infection and get root canal therapy immediately. Here are some signs you need a root canal:
How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Root Canal?
Aftercare is necessary, so if you live alone, getting a family member to take care of you is important. It is not uncommon to experience a level of pain and discomfort for a few days post-procedure, so avoid biting hard foods and get some rest. You can also use over-the-counter painkillers if needed.
To avoid further root canals, keep your teeth clean and practice good oral hygiene along with regular trips to the dentist.
For More Information and to Schedule an Appointment
To schedule a consultation, call us at (614) 427-0449 or visit our office. Our team of trusted professionals will guide you throughout the process and ensure they answer all your questions to help you get comfortable before the procedure.